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 Past Exhibitions at Sana Gallery 

In “Postcard From Syria: Art Is Peace” self-taught Syrian photographer Issa Touma presents, together with Singapore’s Sana Gallery, a vibrant window into Syria’s rich cultural life, where even today loss and fears for the future are drowned in messages of hope and resilience.


Most of the artworks for “Postcard From Syria: Art Is Peace” journeyed to Singapore from Aleppo, via Beirut, in yet another poignant Syrian migration story – though this time a migration story for art rather than people.  Some arrived to Beirut by car, others by bus, others were carried on foot.  They were gathered slowly over a period of months in Beirut, before traveling to Singapore by air and feature works by Syrian artists Hagop Jamkochian (Drawings and Texts), Thaer Hizzi (paintings and sketches), Issa Touma (photography), Yacob Ibrahim (paintings on canvas), Sabhan Adam (painting on canvas) as well as some by the art collective “Art Camping”.

The paintings tell stories from inside the city of Aleppo, where photographer Issa Touma went days without electricity and water.  In Aleppo, security is practically non-existent, and the ebbs and flows of war periodically land on your front door courtesy of bombardments, snipers and battles nearby.  Often, residents can’t step outside for days and when they do, they take risks unimaginable to the overwhelming majority of humanity that has never seen a war touch it from 50 meters.


Despite it all, Issa Touma still miraculously managed to convene the “12th Aleppo International Photo Festival” earlier in 2015 and the works for “Postcard From Syria: Art Is Peace” feature some from that courageous exhibition.


The show must go on.  Because art is peace.  Because peace is art. 


Through their emphatic, vibrant art scene which won’t be cowed, Syrian artists are sending a vibrant message around the world:  Syria is alive, will experience peace and joy again, and will thrive.  In spite of an exodus of some five million Syrians since civil war erupted in 2011, its artists have managed to express themselves louder and louder, an island of sanity and hope in the middle of a sea of mayhem.  Young and old, they continue working in Beirut, Dubai, Doha, Western Europe and elsewhere.  Their works often broadcast hope from a country and about a country where hope is in very short supply.


Using every available medium, from paintings to  sculptures, photographs, videos and digital composites, Syria’s artists are ensuring that the voice of peace, the voice of a humane Syria, the voice of peace in a humane Syria, are heard.


Issa Touma, Yacob Ibrahim, Thaer Hizzi and Hagop Jamkochian live and work in Aleppo.


Art Camping is an Aleppo artists collective led by Issa Touma and intended as an artistic outlet, especially in times of war, for the local youths.  They visit all ends of the city since the civil war started and with pen and paper, copy historical features of the city.


Sabhan Adam is a world-renown self- made plastic artist.  Today his art is a quasi-independent school that has its own Orwellian nature and his artworks are shown in museums and galleries around the world.

Postcard from Syria :
Art is Peace 

20/11/2015 - 31/01/2016

Postcard from Syria
Group Show
Group Show - Sana Gallery

03/09/2015 - 08/11/2015

Google 4 Doodle
"Doodle 4 Google" Show

01-02/08/2015 And



On August 1 and 2 and again from August 7 to August 10, Sana Gallery transforms into the Google Shophouse.


In celebration of Singapore 50th anniversary, the Google Shophouse at Sana Gallery will feature the winning Doodle (from different age groups) from Google's "Doodle 4 Google" competition held under the theme "Singapore the next 50 years".


Doodle 4 Google at Sana Gallery- Channel News Asia

Chronicle by PC, NKS, MR
Chronicle by Paula Chahine, Nayla Kai Saroufim and Marcel Rached

08/05/2015 - 05/07/2015

In a guiltless search for happiness, “Chronicle”, a collective exhibition of three emerging artists from Lebanon, Paula Chahine, Nayla Kai Saroufim and Marcel Rached, curated by Singapore’s Sana Gallery, tells a beautiful story about dialogues;


Between the Middle East and the rest of the world;


Men and women;


People and the sea;


Children and parents;


Machines and us;


“Chronicle” is a commentary on our day and age of silent, loud, spiritual, material, overt, covert, direct and indirect connectedness and communication. 


The three artists use different techniques, ranging from pop art combined with mixed media, acrylic on canvas and photography.  Their fresh approaches combine lush layers of paint, ink, airbrush, watercolors, glow in the dark paint, LED lights and photography.

PM LKY by Laudi Abilama
Prime Minister
Lee Kuan Yew
by Laudi Abilama

06/03/2015 - 26/04/2015

Prime Minister LEE KUAN YEW spent his life carving a nation, Singapore, together with its incredible success story. 


This achievement is striking by any global standard but especially so when seen with Arab eyes, contrasted and compared against the systemic failures of Arab leaders to build a successful, democratic, and stable society over the same period as PM LKY’s career.


In 2010, Lebanese artist Laudi Abilama commenced a series of artworks that portrayed the most prominent leaders of the Middle East. Following an artists residence in Singapore in 2011, she was inspired to continue her leaders’ portraits by focusing on Prime Minister LEE KUAN YEW.


Abilama’s Prime Minister LEE KUAN YEW series is an artistic commentary on how PM LKY worked closely within a  multicultural society, embracing the colourful makeup of Singapore and its people’s potential to the fullest. 


Abilama uses a screen printing technique (a stencil method of print making in which a design is imposed) on paper and linen, with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance. 


She mixes her own pigment and forces it into the mesh openings by the fill blade or squeegee and onto the printing surface during the squeegee stroke, printing one colour at a time, which makes each piece unique. Integrated into her images of the Prime Minister LEE KUAN YEW are spontaneous, un-calculated traces of Islamic geometric forms, created much in the same way they were hundreds of years ago.


Each circle is drawn at random and the lines that emerge from them determine the continuation of the composition.


There is no set start or end point for each line, but rather a link between them and a silent potential for forms and compositions to emerge, in much the same way as PM LKY steered his nation to prosperity.


Abilama’s portraits of Prime Minister LEE KUAN YEW equally probe and celebrate the life of a man with conviction who crafted an incredibly successful vision for his country. 

Contemporary Art of the Middle East
Contemporary Middle Eastern Art

15/01/2015 - 10/02/2015

This exhibition lays bare eight Middle Eastern artists from different backgrounds, all with a desire to speak with a distinct voice through their art, a powerful representation of the recurring human themes of freedom, injustice, pain and joy.


Ayman Lotfy & Ahmed Khaled (WARD GALLERY)

Jack Dabaghian

Laura Boushnak

Mohamed Abouelnaga

Rania Matar

Peacekeepers Onsite
Peacekeepers by
Thaer Maarouf and Jason Paul Tecson

13/11/2014 - 11/01/2015

“Peacekeepers” is a dialogue between South East Asia and the Middle East, featuring the piercing sculptures of Filipino artist Jason Paul Tecson paired with the cerebral paintings of Syrian artist Thaer Maarouf. 


“My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see.”

Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim


In “Peacekeepers,” Sana Gallery’s ground-breaking juxtaposition of the artwork of Philipino artist Jason Paul Tecson and of Syrian artist Thaer Maarouf, visitors are invited to discover the secret dialogue between South East Asia and the Middle East. 


The exhibition investigates how artists from countries which seemingly couldn’t be more different nonetheless converged their commentary on the universality of conflict through the concrete manifestation of symbols and a blending of familiarity with alienation, the ordinary and the extraordinary.  To make us see.


Click here to read more 

Streets of Cairo at Sana
Streets of Cairo:
Between documentation and art
by Mohamed Abouelnaga

22/01/2014 - 03/03/2014

What’s now clear in the Arab world is that while the Tunisian, the Egyptian and other revolutions have started, these will unfold and metamorphose over many years to come. 

Concurrently, murals across the streets of Cairo blossomed, witnessing vigorous and constantly changing graphic diversity. 


Protesters of all stripes succeeded in showcasing their demands, their ambitions and most of all their cynicism on wall surfaces in all Egyptian cities and villages. 

Alongside, parliamentary and presentation campaigns are scrambling to form an epic story on all the walls of Cairo streets. Layers of drawings, posters, stickers accumulate to reflect hundreds of demands and multi-colored turmoil.


Pictures of candidates for office are plastered on walls, torn, replaced by others which are torn again, with the mosaic creating virtual candidates who are no longer real. 

Graffiti is made and removed, in a constant ballet, by the military or the police or Islamists or others unknown, in a constant, permanent interaction between creation and omission.


The living murals change every day and every moment. Hence comes the importance of documenting the moment from historical, artistic and social perspectives.

The artist monitored his surrounding reality through photography then, through his own artistic intervention, reflected on his surroundings, his street, his city and his country. 


His artwork bursts with feelings and vitality, in multiple layers and mediums (paintings, tapestry, paper, mixed media, videos) expressing the turmoil, variety and sheer creative explosion playing out on revolutionary streets. 

Sublimed Elsewhere's at Sana
Sublimed Elsewhere's

15/01/2014 - 19/01/2014

"Sublimed Elsewhere's" is a sublimed vision of an "elsewhere" which exists across current societies living between contemporaneity and tradition which struggles against globalization. It questions our future as it also looks at a world in constant turmoil.


Roger Moukarzel, Wafaa Celine Halawi, Jack Dabaghian, and Halida Boughriet: four artists, four different worlds and, yet, a common set of problems concerning our world's evolution.


"Sublimed Elsewhere's" is curated by Marine Bougaran, Project Manager at "Beirut Art Fair" and "Singapore Art Fair" and will last till January 19, 2014.


Click here to download the press release

I read I write at Sana
I read I write by Laura Boushnak

19/06/2013 - 28/07/2013

From Tunisia through Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Yemen, “I Read, I Write: The Photographs of Laura Boushnak” explores the relationship between female literacy, happiness and development in the Arab world.


Opening June 19 at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute, “I Read, I Write” draws together a selection of nearly five years of artist Laura Boushnak’s contemporary portrait photography, and demonstrates her on-going interest in Arab women’s place in society.


Nourished by her relationship with her environment, (Boushnak is a Palestinian raised in Kuwait and educated in Lebanon), Boushnak’s stunning photography reflects the beauty and depth she finds in Arab women who beat the odds to become literate. Although her passion for the subject is evident, her pictures do not pass judgment, nor do they attempt to persuade. The photographer acts as an invested observer, taking a compassionate view of her subjects by superimposing the writing of women on their portraits, and letting them speak to us. 

Carnaval of Darwiches at Sana
Carnaval of Darwiches
by Raouf Rifai

14/03/2013 - 28/04/2013

In the “Carnaval of Darwiches,” Sana Gallery presents an extensive collection of contemporary art and masterpieces by a doyen of Lebanese artists, Raouf Rifai. Rifai’s Darwiches are an extensive body of work created by the artist over the past several years. 


Rifai’s dedication to the Darwich resembles that of Paul Klee and his angels. Like Klee’s angels, Rifai’s Darwiches are many and varied. They share some common characteristics, foremost the fact that they are all rooted in human existence: They have weaknesses and flaws, a myriad of expressions, attitudes and emotions; they are the simple common man and the Sufi mystic; they are secular and spiritual; they are handsome and ugly; they are stupid yet at the time wiser than everyone around them; they are full of worries or playful; they cry yet derive humor from everyday tasks; In short, we recognize ourselves in them, they are us.The paintings selected for the exhibition paint a wide canvas of the Middle East’s social and political conundrums.


“The Middle East in its reality resembles a circus, or a theatrical play, where you have your heroes and villains monsters and angels, as well as the brave and the cowardly," says Rifai, “I want to give them all a role, and highlight how society and politicians under-estimate the common man at their own peril.” “My art’s main subject is Humanity; It is nourished by the history of our civilization and our heritage.”


Ordinary Lives at Sana
Ordinary Lives: Women of the Middle East by Rania Matar

05/12/2012 - 27/01/2013

The focus of this distinguished body of work is on women and children in the Middle East, contrasting the image of the region in the media (bombings, terrorism, kidnappings) with the fact that the large majority of the inhabitants are ordinary people going on with their everyday lives.



The artist, Lebanese-American Rania Matar, explores the universality and diversity of being human, of being a mother, a child or a young woman without regard to social back ground, religion, or nationality, in a region torn by strife.  She portrays her subjects as the individuals they are - infused with a beautiful spirit, focused on the everyday and determined to live their ordinary lives in a region which is anything but ordinary. 



"I was in the unique position of being simultaneously an insider and an outsider to the Middle East: an insider who spoke the language and understood the culture and the people, but also an outsider who has been living in the West for many years and who can see it all with fresh unbiased eyes.  What I saw was very different from what was being shown and broadcast.  I saw beauty, hospitality, warmth, resilience, dignity, and a strong desire to keep going despite everything.



I was humbled by the women who brought safety and stability to their homes and their children, and who just kept going everyday with the simple tasks of their daily lives.  I was fascinated by the ordinary and the mundane within the 

extra-ordinary," says Rania Matar.      


The images selected for this exhibition are from multiple bodies of work of the artist.  

Kisses of an Enemy at Sana
Kisses of an enemy

25/10/2012 - 30/11/2012

Born in SHABHA, Syria in 1972, Thaer Maarouf explores in his series of paintings the limits of ‘seeing’.

His exhibited body of work includes paintings portraying concealed human figures and faces behind layers of longitudinal lines or trickled with tiny Jasmine flowers. In these paintings, we look through those thin lines to a reality intentionally blurred by the artist, asif to say that we do not really see or that we cannot realistically convey the historical and almost always violent images that we are bombarded with daily in the news. His installation, “Veto,” speaks to the emotional scars of a people in the midst a civil war and contrasts these with the inadequacy of our international political architecture.


Semaan Khawam, who has both Syrian and Lebanese origins, was born in 1974 and has been living in Beirut since his teenage years. With this new body of work, Khawam somehow draws a possible route back to the country he left. In his paintings and stencil work, he seeks to explore the human and societal consequences of the events occurring in Syria with a technique bursting with subtle elements drawn from his graffiti art and poetry practices. The artist is interested in working through portraiture to reveal the dramatic reconfiguration of families in the aftermath of the massacres and violent events taking place in Syria. His paintings depict abstract human figures, destitute of any characteristics, shadowy beings. He represents children playing, holding flowers and jumping rope; all of them blackened, their human features effaced.


This exhibition lays bare Thaer Maarouf and Semaan Khawam’s desire to speak with a distinct voice through their art, a powerful representation of the recurring human themes of free- dom, injustice, pain and joy. 

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